It takes more than pro-choice laws to end deaths from unsafe abortions
South Africa legalised abortion in 1997. Yet so few clinics offer them that women still risk their lives by turning to illegal means
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng
Wed 6 Jun 2018
I have been an abortion provider for as long as I have been a qualified doctor. In the past five years, I have been inundated with emails, social media requests and calls from women from all walks of life desperate for my help.
I will never forget one young woman who came to the public clinic in the West Rand township near Johannesburg, panicking about massive blood loss from her vagina. It was only after some prompting that she and a family member admitted to using abortion pills purchased outside a shopping centre. She bought the pills after being denied an abortion by the local clinic, where health workers told her “We don’t do those things here,” and shamed her for being young and sexually active.